Israel Beiteinu has no contingency plan for Lieberman indictment

Money laundering probe has placed a question mark over the ability of the party leader to complete a full term in government.

Lieberman dont mess 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Lieberman dont mess 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
It is an event which could rock a future government to its core: an indictment of Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman by state prosecutors. The scenario appears somewhat distant at this stage, as the National Fraud Unit continues to complete lines of inquiry and has not yet questioned Lieberman in person, but the high-profile police investigation into the Cypriot bank accounts police suspect were used by Lieberman to launder funds has placed a question mark over the ability of the party leader to complete a full term in government. Nevertheless, Israel Beiteinu has made no contingency plans for the event of a future indictment of Lieberman, two of its members have told The Jerusalem Post. "No way. This has never come up," said former deputy police commissioner and the occupant of the fourth place on the party's list, Yitzhak Aharonovitch. "There is no contingency plan or anything resembling that," said former ambassador to the US and Israel Beiteinu's No. 7 Danny Ayalon. In theory, if Lieberman were indicted, his second in command, Uzi Landau, would be slated to inherit the throne. For the time being, however, the party's lack of a "Plan B" appears to be in line with estimations by former law enforcement sources, such as former senior National Fraud Unit investigator Dep.-Cmdr. (ret.) Boaz Guttman, who believes that years could pass before state prosecutors manage to overcome all of the complex hurdles needed to serve Lieberman with an indictment. Such obstacles include a drawn-out legal hearing designed to give defendants the right to challenge an indictment before it is served, and an attempt to strip Lieberman of his parliamentary immunity. Meanwhile, the Justice Ministry angrily denied a Channel 2 report aired on Wednesday night which claimed that police had asked Mazuz for permission to question Lieberman in the next few weeks during a meeting between the two sides. In a statement, the Justice Ministry said "such reports are inaccurate, and have no place at this stage," adding that Wednesday night's meeting had been set for a long time, and that the meeting was one of several scheduled encounters designed to update prosecutors on the Lieberman investigation, as well as other investigations. "Regarding the timing of the interrogation of Knesset Member Lieberman, a decision has not yet been taken, and it will be taken when the right time comes, and in consideration of all of the [relevant] circumstances," the statement added. Rebecca Anna Stoil contributed to this report.